This exercise will support you to:
- Better understand the problem you’re facing
- Consider your options for changing things
- Clarify what you want to do next
It’ll take about 20 minutes to complete.
before you get started…
- Grab a pen and some paper
- Make yourself a drink – ideally caffeine and alcohol free – but anything goes
- Find a comfy and quiet(ish) place to sit
- Write down your answers to the questions below, as much or as little as you like
- Spend as long as you like on this and come back to it if you want to
- Follow the exercise to the end if you feel up to it
pause for thought
- Take a few deep breaths, in through your nose and out through your mouth
- Close your eyes and bring your attention first to your shoulders, then your stomach and then your feet – noticing how each feels
- Pick the words that best describe how you would like to approach this exercise: slowly; kindly; creatively; openly; honestly; boldly; inquisitively; or something else
what are you working with?
- Describe the problem or issue you are facing in sentence or two
- How long has this problem lasted? Days, weeks, months or years?
- How does thinking about this problem leave you feeling? Choose three words that best describe this
- How often do you think about it?
- When you do think about it, what tend to be your dominant or reoccurring thoughts?
How it affects you
- What are the three most important things in your life?
- Relative to these things, how important is this problem to you?
- Can you give two reasons for you giving the problem this level of importance?
- What are the main negative impacts the problem is having on you, your life, or others?
- Are there any positive impacts of the problem on you or others?
- If the problem isn’t solved, what might the future consequences of this be?
- From your perspective, what is causing the problem? Ask yourself: why is this happening? Then, ask why is that happening? And repeat. E.g:
- Problem: I’m really hungry
- Why? I haven’t eaten enough today [surface level cause]
- Why? I ate a biscuit for breakfast
- Why? I’ve run out of cereal
- Why? I haven’t been shopping this week
- Why? I’m too tired to go shopping
- How much influence do you have on the cause of the problem you are facing?
- Can you imagine the problem from someone else’s perspective? What would they say and do about it?
- Has any thing, or person, helped alleviate the problem so far?
- Have you faced a similar problem before? If so, what did you do then? Are there lessons you can learn from this previous experience?
- Reflecting on your answers how much effort do you want to put in to resolving the problem?
- Do you have any ideas for solving the problem? List the ideas you have
- Who or what might help these solutions be more effective?
- Do you need more time, support, information or resources to solve the problem?
- Do you need to be mindful of or careful about anything as you move forward?
- What, if anything, would you like to do in the next few weeks to work towards solving the problem?